Esteem to be phased out next year

Written by Yogima Seth | New Delhi, Dec 28 | Updated: Dec 29 2007, 06:32am hrs
After more than 15 years on Indian roads, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd plans to phase out the iconic Maruti Esteem by early next year.

According to sources, Maruti will gradually phase out its first-ever sedan, initially called the Maruti 1000 and later renamed Esteem and given a larger engine, and has already started cutting production since April.

According to industry figures, from an estimated 1,533 units rolled out in April, production has dropped to just 497 units in November, a dip of around 68%. However, in August the company produced an estimated 1,903 units.

The abnormal rise in production figures in August is an exercise by Maruti to build up inventory that can later be sold over a period of time as the company gears up to gradually phase out the Esteem, says an industry expert.

With no freshness and innovation being offered in the model for quite some time, it has lost appeal to Indian buyers, adds another industry expert.

Maruti officials, however, denied any move to phase out the Esteem.